Seerah Competition 2017 Essay – Haneen Hasan

Award winning essay for the theme: “When things get really difficult, relief comes from Allah.” In light of this verse from Quran, what do you learn from the Makkan Seerah?

“I bear witness that Muhammad is NOT the last messenger of Allah.” I imagine it was something along these lines that Ammar bin Yasir was forced to say after the torture he saw his parents face. Ammar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) saw a lot of hardship in his life. He was tortured relentlessly, until he was screaming out in pain, reaching his breaking point much later than many of us would. Despite this, for some reason, it seems to me what hurt most were those words he was forced to utter. Like Ammar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) Muslims from the beginning of time have gone through hardships because of their faith, yet when things get hard, it’s not people they turn to, but Allah they approach. People like the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), and Mus’ab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) went through so much loss and hardship in this life for their religion, yet remained steadfast.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was a good man. We know this from Seerah, he was honest, trustworthy, patient, and kind. From the very beginning people saw something special in him. When he turned 40 years old, and the Qur’aan was revealed for the first time, everything he knew about his life was turned around. His good character and nature had him patient, but he was terrified, as anyone would expect him to be. He ran to his source of comfort, scared that he was seeing things, straight into the arms of his wife, Khadeejah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her). While Khadeejah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was his comfort, his support was his uncle, Abu Talib. The man who raised the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) fought on his behalf many times. Even though he was not a Muslim, he suffered through the boycott and stood firmly by his nephew. These people, the ones whom the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would spend the rest of his life missing, were taken away in the early years of prophethood. The pain that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had already gone through losing his father and mother early in life, built up because now he felt alone. It was during this time, a year named specifically named the year of sorrow for the incredible losses endured, that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) comforted his Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) with prayer, five times daily, an opportunity to have a conversation with the creator of this world. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)’s hardship was eased.

As the hot sand burned his back in the unbearable desert sun, a boulder pressed tightly on his chest, tears forming in his eyes, a young African slave whimpered, but refused defeat, insisting on, ‘ahad, ahad, ahad”. Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) a story we have never skipped during discussion of hardships in Makkan Seerah. His master was a cruel person who was less than pleased his slave was a part of the following of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He out him through physical torture so severe, it makes me cringe just thinking about it. Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) may as well be the definition of the word perseverance, as through it all, he never gave up his faith. After he was freed by Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), Bilal went on to become an important part of the Muslim ummah. We know him today as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)’s favorite mu’adhin. We know him as the man whose footsteps the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) heard in Jannah in front of his own. Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) turned to Allah, he did not beg his master for mercy, he did not even ask to be freed, simply, he turned to Allah, and for that reason we mention his name to this day.

They say when Mus’ab bin Umair raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) passed by, you could smell his perfume there for three days. His robes would reach well past his ankles, and he was in other words, filthy rich. Mus’ab bin Umair raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) to many people may have been living the life. He had everything a person who valued the world could ask for. Money, status, and of course, good looks. It’s hard to imagine this same man being someone who they could not find enough cloth to bury his body in. Mus’ab bin Umair raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) suffered in the name of his religion, maybe not exactly like Bilal or Khabbab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), but suffered nonetheless. Everything he loved about his life was gone in a matter of days as he bore witness to a truth we utter to this day. He faced rejection from the very people who claimed to love him, and everything he ever knew to be true, everything he thought he was, was gone. Today, we acknowledge his sacrifices from more than a thousand years ago. Because when he lost everything and everyone, he turned directly to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used Mus’ab’s charm and charisma later on to make him the first ambassador of Islam. And once again, when he chose Allah over everything else, he fixed his place in history.

Courage, perseverance, and resilience perfectly embody the three incredible men mentioned in this essay. Their true help in this world was simply Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Even when things got unbearable, and the pain was piercing, they got back up, asked for help from the only one who could help them. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) through pain and loss did not give up his mission to spread Tawheed. Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), through physical scars and torture did not give up that very Tawheed. Mus’ab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), through loss of wealth and status, maybe even identity, did not give up his faith. There are many thing I have learned from these incredible men. I have learned that despite how bad things may look in this world, Allah is the one in charge of making it better so it’s to Him I should turn to. I have learned that despite the losses others see in embracing Islam and holding onto it, it’s never really a loss, because we have no idea what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has planned for us in the future. Lastly, I learned that the true value of people is judged when they are in hardship, who they look to, and ask for help from shows character. I hope I embody these lesson in my life whenever things look difficult.

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2 responses to “Seerah Competition 2017 Essay – Haneen Hasan”

  1. Usman says:

    Well done, MashAllah! Great essay and explanation of a central part of Iman – Sabr. Hardship in my life brought me back to Allah SWT as I did not turn to creation for help, but The One Creator who gave us everything. Allah SWT gives and takes away, but through it all, a Musliim says Alhamdullilah.

  2. Albertjude says:

    Great. A very useful part of speech of Iman Sabar. yes, when things get really difficult, relief comes from Allah.
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